The good news is I believe that the world is waking up to this, and we can expect a decade of action ahead. But what does this look like and how can we as a leading appliance company contribute? Here are the trends I see developing to tackle climate change…
1) Awareness will become widespread
Awareness of climate change will grow dramatically amongst the general population over the next ten years. With consequences of climate change such as floods, droughts, fires and air pollution rising on the news agenda, the topic will no longer be an issue being discussed in niche circles. More people will become worried for their wellbeing, and that of future generations, and will ask how they can act and what they can do to live a more sustainable life.
At Electrolux, we want to leverage our global strength in the homes of millions of people and have created the Better Living Program, an action plan to enable better and more sustainable living. As well as a target to make our company climate neutral and circular by 2030, we have bold targets that focus on better eating, better garment care and a better home environment to help people live more sustainably.
2) Reducing food waste and eating more sustainably will be the next big campaign.
We’ve seen huge campaigning over the past ten years against the damaging effects of plastic pollution. The result? Individuals, businesses and entire countries are beginning to eliminate single-use plastic.
So what’s next? I believe positive action to eliminate food waste, and more generally to promote sustainable eating with more plant-based meals, will top the agenda. Did you know as a planet we currently throw away one third of all food produced while almost a billion people of the planet go to bed hungry? And with 1 billion more people to feed on the planet by 2030, what we consume – and what we do to eliminate food waste – will be a big focus this decade.
The Electrolux Food Foundation has a goal to educate 300,000 people in sustainable eating by 2030. Initiatives such as Food Heroes are already making an impact – so far we’ve educated 30,000 school children around the world how eating better and reducing food waste makes for a better planet. And the hundreds of graduates from our Like a Chef sustainable cooking program for employment are putting their knowledge into practice across the world. We will continue to grow these and other initiatives with our partners WorldChefs and AIESEC.
3) Companies will take action and work together
I just mentioned two of the partners we are working with to help make a difference, and we will see far more of this over the next decade – companies joining together to make an impact. We recently invested in Karma for example – a start-up that helps reduce food waste by selling surplus food from cafes, restaurants and supermarkets at a reduced price via an app. It’s a smart idea and I’m excited to see other ideas that bring companies together for a collective good.
It is, after all, in the interest of businesses to be sustainable as consumers expect us to stay relevant. We are fully committed to reduce our own impact on the planet. By the end of 2019, we had cut our CO2 emissions in operations by 58% compared to 2015. By 2025 we will reduce emissions by 80% and be climate neutral in our operations by 2030. We won’t stop there. We recently became a partner of the UN’s Cool Coalition to drive efficient, climate-friendly cooling solutions. We’ve also signed the UN’s Global Business Pledge, committing to be climate neutral across our entire value chain by 2050. That’s going to be a huge effort which requires that we engage with other stakeholders to drive change.
4) New business models will emerge
Urbanization is a megatrend for the next decade – with 60 per cent of the global population living in cities by 2030. On top of this, with average life expectancy increasing while fewer children are being born, there will be more older people on the planet to cater to than ever before.
All these changes will affect how we live and what we need in the home. During the next decade another billion people will be part of the global middle class and will buy their first refrigerator. New, smarter business models such as subscription-based services and shared ownership will emerge to cater for a growing, more connected, and more environmentally aware population. In Sweden and China, we’re already piloting hardware-as-a-service business models, where consumers can subscribe to rather than purchase our products. One exciting part of this is that products can be fixed and re-used – extending the life of products.
5) Government legislation will hold the key
I believe at Electrolux we will do all we can over the next decade. But it’s going to need collective effort from individuals, businesses and politicians to protect this world we share.
There are currently 197 nations signed to the Paris Agreement, a UN agreement to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change. Governments hold the key to our success, and new legislation on a local and global scale is necessary to protect our planet. We’re already working with the United Nation’s initiative “United 4 Efficiency” that lobbies for developing countries to transition to energy-efficient products. What other legislations can be introduced to take us all in the right direction?
Ten years might sound far away – but there is no time to lose. This sense of urgency will help drive a decade of action. And we must all play a part.